Yesterday morning the grape harvest started in the Saint-Aignan area. Bruno Denis and his father, owners of the Domaine de la Renaudie winery, were just outside our back gate between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. with their harvester and tractor.
They didn't stay long and they harvested "white" grapes only. All the "black" grapes are still on the vines. I assume that they harvest each variety as it reaches the right level of ripeness.
On my way back from Paris last week I read a set of articles about the harvest that our local paper, La Nouvelle République, printed. It focused on the Sancerre, Mennetou-Salon, Quincy, Reuilly, and Châteaumeillant wine areas to the east of Saint-Aignan near the towns of Vierzon and Bourges. But the issues and the weather are the same.
Conditions these past two weeks have been perfect, the articles said. Fairly warm days, cool nights, and light, dry northerly breezes are slowly bringing the grapes to just the right stage of maturity. Some grapes were lost earlier to mildew, especially in our rainy August, but the harvest should be good.
The authorization to harvest has been issued by the AOC authorities, but the grape-growers are taking their time. If a period of rain is forecast, they will probably work pretty fast to get all the grapes in. So far, so good. 2007 might turn out to be a good year after all.